JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASES, vol.17, no.1, pp.11-17, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
Objective The frequency of coinfections in pediatric Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases and their impact on the clinical course are not fully understood. We aimed to investigate the viral and bacterial respiratory pathogens in children admitted to the pediatric emergency department (PED), their clinical course, and the presence of coinfections during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods Clinical, laboratory and radiological findings, viral and bacterial pathogens detected by multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests in nasopharyngeal swabs, clinical course, and treatments of all children who were tested for severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) at the PED between March 16 and May 15, 2020, were recorded. SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive and negative groups were compared. Results Out of 570 patients tested for SARS-CoV-2 during the study period, 43 were found positive (7.5%). Non-SARS-CoV-2 viral pathogens were more common in the SARS-CoV-2 PCR-negative group than the SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive group (13.2%, n=68 versus 4.7%, n=2), but this result was not statistically significant. Leukocyte, neutrophil, lymphocyte, and platelet counts were lower in SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive group. Bacterial panel positivity was significantly higher in the SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive group compared with the SARS-CoV-2 PCR-negative group (52%, n=12 versus 28%, n=91; p<0.05). The presence of coinfection did not alter the course of therapy in SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive cases. Conclusion While viral coinfections were rare, bacterial panel positivity was common in children with COVID-19, but this had not influenced management decisions. The limitations of the tests should be kept in mind while interpreting the results.